Crossing the Conflict Divide: De facto Borders, State Belonging, and the Changing Dynamics of Enemy Relations in Abkhazia

Andrea Peinhopf*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Focusing on the motivations of ethnic Abkhazians travelling ‘to Georgia’, this article
examines the changing dynamics of enemy relations and state belonging in the context of contested, de facto statehood. Drawing on ethnographic data collected among ordinary Abkhaz, I argue that while it can be certain limitations of life in a de facto state that motivate people to cross the conflict divide, it is simultaneously their belonging to the Abkhazian state that equips them with the confidence to encounter the ‘enemy’. This challenges the assumption that de facto statehood is
necessarily detrimental to peacebuilding, instead showing how it can facilitate ‘normal’ relations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-270
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Early online date22 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2023
Externally publishedYes

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